20 Quotes from David Platt’s (Vulnerable) New Book on Making Your Life Count

The following quotes caught my attention as I (Matt Smethurst) read David Platt’s challenging new book, Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need (Multnomah, 2019). I’m excited to interview him at the conclusion of tonight’s live simulcast event. Join us!

We talk a lot about the need to know what we believe in our heads, yet I wonder if we have forgotten to feel what we believe in our hearts. How else are we to explain our ability to sit in services where we sing songs and hear sermons celebrating how Jesus is the hope of the world, yet rarely (if ever) fall on our faces weeping for those who don’t have this hope and then take action to make this hope known to them? (2–3)

What we need is not an explanation of the Word and the world that puts more information in our heads; we need an experience with the Word in the world that penetrates the recesses of our hearts. (3–4)

It’s a pretty empty feeling to pray for someone when deep down inside you’re not actually believing it’s going to matter. (31)

As you trek these trails, creation all around you is shouting out the splendor of the Creator. Yet as beautiful as this landscape is, I realize in a deeper way that it’s ultimately insufficient to communicate the depth of the Creator’s love. For more than 2,000 years, these spectacular mountains may have been declaring the glory of God, but not for one second have these majestic peaks ever said a thing about Jesus. God has revealed his greatness to every person in these villages, but hardly any of them have ever heard about his grace. (69)

The purpose of a symbol is to express a reality greater than what can be expressed in words, so it should bring no solace to think that the Bible’s descriptions of hell might be symbolic. (71)

If there’s no struggle with what you believe about hell, then you really don’t believe in hell. (72)

[There’s a danger of convincing] myself that somehow I have more compassion than God himself, such that if I were in charge, I would never create a place called hell. In other words, I can quickly convince myself that I know better than God and his Word regarding what is right and good in the world. The more I think about this . . . the more I realize it is the essence of sin. Way back in Genesis, sin entered the world when the created ones thought they knew better than the Creator. Sin entered the world when man and woman convinced themselves they were right about what was good and God was wrong. (75–76)

“Do you see those lights?” he asks. We nod and he tells us, “Those are church members. Remember that grueling hike you climbed today to get up here? That’s the hike they’re making to get to church.” Humbled, I see these tiny lights in the distance slowly making their way up the trail. I think about the stress people in our culture sometimes have over a 15-minute-or-longer drive to church. How about a two-hour hike up a narrow mountainside in the freezing cold, followed by a two-hour hike back down the same mountainside in the pitch-black darkness after the service? (100–01)

This [village] church has so little of the things you and I think about when it comes to church in our culture. They don’t have a nice building. They don’t have a great band. They don’t have a charismatic preacher. They don’t have any programs. They just have each other, God’s Word in front of them, and God’s Spirit among them. And, apparently, that’s enough. . . . As I sit in the middle of this family of brothers and sisters on this remote mountainside, I can’t help but think of how easy it is to get caught up in so much extra stuff in the church that we miss the essence of who God has called us to be and what he has called us to do. (104–05)

“This is not an easy way to live,” I say out loud, not thinking about anyone being around me. “They didn’t move up here because they thought it would be easy,” Nabin hears me and replies. (119)

I can’t help but wonder if God has designed the globalization of today’s marketplace to open up avenues for the spread of the gospel around the world. (125)

[Jesus exhorts disciples] to live for long-term treasure they can never lose, not short-term treasure they can never keep. . . . Jesus is calling his followers to gain as much ultimate treasure as possible. (128, 129)

People and places in the world not reached with the gospel are unreached for a reason. They’re difficult to reach. They’re dangerous to reach. I’m pretty sure all the easy ones are taken. (147)

The life of a Christian is always costly—for those who are actually following Christ. (148)

As he shares his story of one failed attempt after another, Aaron leans over and whispers, “This is why many people who move here don’t make it. This is hard work, and it doesn’t succeed overnight. What’s needed are people who are willing to work hard for 10 or 20 years until a breakthrough happens. But a lot of Christians, and most churches in America who send them, aren’t willing to stick it out that long.” (156)

Why are Bible-believing, Bible-preaching churches in America so focused on what is not in the Bible? As I ask myself this question, I can’t help but think that one of the greatest needs not just in the church in the Himalayas but in the place where I live is for us to open up our Bibles with fresh, unfiltered eyes and ask, “Are we really doing church the way this Book describes it?” (158)

God has a universe to run, galaxies to uphold, governments to rule, and more than 7 billion people to sustain, yet the Bible doesn’t say that heaven rejoices over these cosmic mysteries and universal realities. Instead, something special happens in heaven when one person who was separated from God in sin is restored to God in love. (164)

It’s easier to stomach poverty as long as you just look at numbers on a page. The poor are easier to ignore if they’re a statistic. But everything changes when you know one of them. Everything changes when you spend time with one and then two days later he’s dead. Not only does he die, but he’s dead because he was poor. (167–68)

There’s really only one thing worse than being lost. What’s worse is being lost when no one is trying to find you. (178)

[Lost people] don’t need me, and other Christians, living as if somebody somewhere will do something someday about their urgent spiritual and physical needs. (189)

How would you want a person on the other side of the world to live if you were on a road leading to an eternal hell and no one had ever told you how you could go to heaven? Answer that question, and then live accordingly. (201)

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